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Alcan Updates Sustainable-Product Research

(July 2008) posted on Fri Jul 11, 2008


Alcan Composites USA, Mooresville, announced its continued research into various green initiatives in the graphic-display industry to promote continuous improvement in the company’s development and manufacturing of sustainable products in its Fome-Cor, Gatorfoam, Sintra, Structa-Board, Dibond, and Alucobond product lines. The initiatives fall into two categories, including manufacturing products utilized in the industry that are biodegradable in landfills and/or utilized in industrial compost, in addition manufacturing products with recycled content that can then be recycled themselves.

“Our research into current landfill technologies has confirmed our initial findings that biodegradable graphic-display products are not sustainable solutions because landfills are constructed in tomb-like styles that do not allow for these products to biodegrade with certainty,” says W. Jay Wynne, vice president of sales and marketing for Alcan. “And, while industrial composting sites may afford a reuse opportunity for biodegradable graphic-display boards in the production of lawn and garden compost products, we currently are sorting through confusing information about the incorporation of inorganic biodegradable materials, such as plastics, in these compost products. Current indications suggest that inorganic, biodegradable materials are not viable components for compost. We will continue to research this area and share our findings with the graphic-display industry.”

Alcan says it will not pursue the development of biodegradable graphic-display boards if they are not able to decompose in landfills or industrial compost areas. The company’s current sustainability initiatives are focused on conservation in a three-pronged approach: reduce, reuse, and recycle.

“The creation of local businesses that can incorporate plastic products in their manufacturing process—such as milk cartons combined with wood fibers to create deck planking—is of great interest to Alcan Composites,” Wynne says. He also says Alcan is researching and would assist local businesses that might provide this recycling opportunity. Alcan also supports the efforts of The International Association of Plastic Distributors in this area.

Alcan’s current sustainability research if focused on determining the carbon footprint of its graphic-display products and their real impact upon the environment. Alcan’s current findings have been published in the third of a series of environmental statements available online at http://www.alcancompositesusa.com/Sustainability3.pdf.


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